How to Know What Paper to Use for Homemade Award Certificates

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Choose the Right Certificate Paper

Certificate printed on blue parchment paper.
Print your certificates on parchment papers, granite textured papers, marbled papers, or others with light colors. The certificate shown is a scan of one printed on light blue parchment paper. © Jacci Howard Bear; licensed to

There are multiple considerations to be made when making an award certificate. Not only do you need to choose the right words, pick appropriate fonts, and decide on a certificate template, but the very paper you'll be using needs to be chosen wisely.

Deciding on the kind of paper to use for an award certificate depends both on the type of paper you want as well as how big the award should be. Plain paper is perfectly fine, especially if you're using a fancy frame or border. However, it's recommended to use good quality paper.

Multi-purpose papers are fine for school reports and draft printing, but may be too thin and not have enough brightness to do your wonderful design justice. To dress up your certificate a bit more, consider some parchment or other patterned paper. Keep the certificate paper fairly light in color so your text has plenty of contrast.

Also, darker paper or something with strong patterns, might interfere too much with graphic elements and colors you use for your text and graphics. A subtle laid or linen finish paper can give your certificate a touch of elegance without overpowering the design.

Most of these papers come in 8.5" x 11" letter size, a common certificate size. For smaller certificates, print multiple copies to a page and cut them out individually. If your printer can handle 12" x 12" scrapbooking paper, you can definitely increase your paper options and have some really fun, patterned certificates.

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Plain, Textured Papers

These parchment papers are lightly tinted and won't interfere with your text and graphics. Use them without borders or print your own borders.

Linen and laid finish stationery, and resume papers make nice certificates.

Try some granite or other stone-finish papers for a visually heavier look.

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Graphic Paper

Stationery with printed borders can double as award certificates paper. Not all designs will work well in landscape orientation but there's no rule that says certificates can't be in portrait mode. If the theme works, use it.